Lionel Messi Moves Past Pele to Become the New Leader in the Single Club Goal Tally

Lionel Messi has overtaken a legend…

The 33-year-old Argentine professional soccer star has surpassed Brazil’s legendary footballer Pele to become the player to score the most goals for a single club after taking his tally to 644 on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi

The record-breaking goal came in the second half of Barca‘s 3-0 win at Valladolid, with Messi taking the ball in stride off a nifty flick from Pedri for a finish into the corner of the net.

Pele struck 643 competitive goals for Santos during an 18-year stay with the Brazilian club. He left for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and until Messi’s goal, the record had stood ever since.

 

Gerd Muller came closest to matching Pele’s one-club goal-scoring feat. The former Germany international netted 565 times for Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1979. The top five is completed by Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting CP 1937-49, 544 goals) and Josef Bican (Slavia Prague 1950s, 534 goals).

 

“When I started to play football, I never thought I would break any record. Especially not the record held by Pele that I now hold,” Messi wrote on Instagram after Tuesday’s game. “I can only give thanks to everyone that has helped me throughout the years, my teammates, my family, my friends and everyone that supports me every day.”

 

The only other active player still in the top 10 is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals for Real Madrid. The Juventus striker is 10th behind Jimmy McGrory (Celtic 1922-37, 522 goals), Jimmy Jones (Glenavon 1951-62, 517 goals), Uwe Seeler (Hamburg 1953-72, 507 goals) and Eusebio (Benfica 1961-75, 473 goals).

Messi’s Barcelona goals have been spread across 16 years in the club’s first team. He scored his first professional goal in 2005 against Albacete as a 17-year-old.

Along with Ronaldo, who played for Manchester United before Madrid and Juve, Messi has taken goal scoring to new heights over the past decade. Everyone else in the top 10 has been retired for at least 40 years.

Messi reached his zenith in the 2011-12 season, Pep Guardiola‘s final year in charge of Barcelona, when he scored 73 goals in all competitions. That tally was sandwiched in between 53 the previous season and 60 the season after.

The Argentina forward has scored more than 50 goals in a season on six occasions, including 58 in 2014-15 when he won his second Treble as a Barca player.

Messi replaced Cesar Rodriguez (232 goals) as Barca’s top scorer in 2012 and overtook Telmo Zarra (251 league goals) as the record scorer in La Liga in 2014.

In addition to his 644 goals with Barca’s senior side, he scored 11 goals for the C team and the B team as a teenager.

Neymar Signs with Puma for Long-Term Partnership

Neymar is reppin’ a new brand…

Puma has announced the signing of the 28-year-old Brazilian soccer star after the Paris Saint-Germain player left Nike following a 15-year association.

Neymar’s arrival was announced on the Puma website alongside the banner “The king is back” and “Welcome to the family Neymar JR.”

Neymar wrote in a statement on his Twitter page: “At the beginning of each new season, I take some time to think about my career and the choices I have made. I think about the dreams I had when I started this sport, and the path that lies ahead.

“This will be a different season, a special season. For that reason, as I have done in the past, I decided to write this text.

“I am about to live a unique experience, a new challenge. I consider myself privileged to have had a life filled with unique experiences and wonderful challenges.

“I grew up watching videos of great football legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Matthaus, Eusebio and Maradona … These were the kings of the pitch, the kings of my sport. And they had something in common — a love of the game, a drive to be the best version of themselves and a spirit that unites all. It’s not always about being the best or the greatest but instead, to inspire future generations. That is exactly what I have dreamt of for myself, to give all of me to football because football has given me everything I have. I want to do it my way, using my gift.

“New challenges, new responsibilities, I understand that. I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch. I was to help bring back memories from each of their football histories and the magic they gave us in their classic leather boots — and through boots like those, leave behind my own legacy. They each played in PUMA, and each of them created their magic in The KING.

“And so now, as I begin this new season, I want the KING to reign on the pitch and inspire generations as it has inspired me and others.

“To be in this project, associating myself to those Kings of football, through KING, it is a dream. For these reasons, from today onward, I have the honour to unite with the brand that helped the biggest legends of football become what they are. Every time I lace my boots, my KING boots, I will do anything to achieve all of my dreams to honour my name and that of all those great ones who wore the KING before me. This will be my PUMA history. The KING is back!”

Sources told ESPN that only four executives knew about the deal to land Neymar and it was “a big secret in the company” that they had been working to sign the player for several months.

He returned to training with PSG on Friday after missing their opening Ligue 1 fixture of the campaign, a 1-0 defeat at Lens, following a positive test for the coronavirus.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222 million fee and has won three Ligue 1 titles in Paris. He also helped the French club reach the Champions League final in August, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

During his time at Barca he won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and two La Liga titles.

James Rodriguez Leaving Real Madrid for Everton FC

James Rodriguez is officially headed to the England…

The 29-year-old Colombian soccer player has joined Everton FC from Real Madrid, the Premier League club has announced.

James Rodriguez

The clubs have agreed a €25 million fee, according to ESPN. The deal will officially be for two years with an option for a third.

This is the third time Rodriguez has linked up with coach Carlo Ancelotti, having worked together at Real Madrid during the 2014-15 season and Bayern Munich in the 2017-18 season.

“I am really, really happy to be at this great club, a club with so much history, and here with a manager who knows me really well,” James told the Everton’s website.

“I’m looking forward to achieving great things here — and winning things, which is what everyone’s aim is. I’ve come here to try to improve, to get better. I’ve also come here to help the team to win, to play good football — entertaining football.”

Ancelotti’s presence at Goodison Park is understood to have been critical in getting a deal done.

“James… is a fantastic player with a lot of quality and a lot of ability to make assists for the strikers,” Ancelotti said.

“He was really excited to sign and I didn’t spend time to convince him — he was already convinced.”

Rodriguez is Everton’s second major signing in the close-season following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Allan from Napoli.

Everton finished 12th last term and begin their new Premier League campaign with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Rodriguez was desperate to leave the Bernabeu this summer to restart his career after a disappointing final season in La Liga.

James had been given permission by Real Madrid to skip preseason training last week as the move was being finalized.

The playmaker signed with Real Madrid from AS Monaco for €80m in 2014 after excelling at the World Cup.

Thiago Silva Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Chelsea F.C.

Thiago Silva is switching sides

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional footballer will sign a two-year deal for Chelsea F.C. this week after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

Thiago Silva

The PSG captain’s contract at the French club ran out at the end of the previous campaign, but he played all the Champions League knockout matches — including in the team’s 1-0 final defeat to Bayern Munich — but was not offered a new deal after eight years at the Parc des Princes.

Silva has agreed to personal terms with Chelsea, although minor details are still left to sort out. He’ll reportedly have his medical on Thursday ahead of his official signing.

The big attraction for Chelsea is they won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the former AC Milan defender.

Silva feels he can still play at the top European level for three or four years. He wanted a two-year deal and Chelsea were happy to offer it him.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel wanted to keep him in Paris but sporting director Leonardo was against it.

Silva had also been offered a two-year deal by Fiorentina, but has opted to join Chelsea rather than return to Serie A.

Manchester City Nearing Deal for Valencia’s Ferran Torres

Ferran Torres is thisclose to heading to England.

Manchester City is close to agreeing a fee with Valencia for the 20-year-old Spanish professional footballer, according to ESPN.

Ferran Torres

Man City is set to pay €23 million plus add-ons for the right winger, a SpainUnder-21 international. Negotiations are ongoing but Manchester City is hopeful a deal will be concluded.

Torres was made a prime target for manager Pep Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain following the sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

Valencia has been resigned to losing Torres, who had just one year left on his contract. He has made 97 appearances for the La Liga side, scoring nine times. He has won six caps for Spain’s U21s.

Man City has moved quickly for Torres, who has also attracted interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs. Personal terms should not be a problem with Torres keen to link up with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.

Pepe Reina Joins Aston Villa on Short-Term Loan

Pepe Reina is headed to the United Kingdom…

The 37-year-old Spanish footballer and former Liverpool goalkeeper has joined Aston Villa on a short-term deal from AC Milan.

Pepe Reina

Reina, who has also played for BarcelonaVillarrealBayern Munich and Napoliand was part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championshipin 2008 and 2012, was mainly a back-up to Milan No. 1 Gianluigi Donnarumma during his time at the San Siro.

Reina spent eight years at Liverpool between 2005 and 2013, winning an FA Cup, a Football LeagueCup, a FA Community Shieldand a UEFA Super Cup.

He ended his Liverpool career with a yearlong loan move to Napoli before permanently joining Bayern in 2014. He lasted just one year at the Allianz Arenabefore returning to Napoli for three years.

Reina made his international debut against Uruguayin 2005 but spent much of his career with Spain as the second choice goalkeeper to Iker Casillas.

Villa were keen to sign a goalkeeper after their first choice Tom Heatonsustained a season-ending injury.

Alexis Sanchez to Play for Inter Milan as Part of Season-Long Loan

Alexis Sanchez is headed to Italy…

The 30-year-old Chilean professional footballerhas joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan from Manchester United, the clubs have announced.

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal in January 2018, struggled to find his best form at Old Traffordand, despite manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaerhaving backed Sanchez to come good, has returned to Serie Awith Inter Milan.

“We can confirm that Alexis Sanchez joins Inter Milan on loan until 30 June 2020. We wish @Alexis_Sanchez the best of luck in Italy,” United wrote in a Twitter post.

Sources told ESPN FC earlier this week that Manchester United had agreed to loan Sanchez for 10 months while contributing around £6 million of his £391,000-a-week salary. Inter are set to pay £9.46m of the 30-year-old’s wages plus a loan fee to United. The deal does not include an option to buy.

Sanchez will join up with Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku who left United for Inter this month in a deal reported to have cost the Serie A club around €80m ($89.15m).

Sanchez, who previously spent three seasons in Serie A with Udinese before moving to Barcelona, is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 43 goals.

“On behalf of the entire Nerazzurri family, we’d like to wish [Sanchez] a very warm welcome and the best of luck,” Inter said in a statement.

He arrives at San Siro as a replacement for Ivan Perisic, who signed for Bayern Munich.

Lucas Hernandez Signs with Bayern Munich for €80 Million

Lucas Hernandezis breaking out the lederhosen

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of the 23-half-Spanish professional soccer player and Atletico Madrid defender for €80 million.

Lucas Hernandez

The France international will officially join the team on June 30.

A move to the Allianz Arenahad long been mooted for the World Cup-winner, and he will sign a five-year contract, with Atletico Madrid confirming Bayern met Hernandez’s buy-out clause.

“Today is a very important day in my career,” Hernandez said. “Bayern Munich are one of the best clubs in Europe and the world.

“I am proud to be able to fight for every trophy with Bayern in the future. I would like to thank Atletico, the management, the coaches, my teammates and the fans for a wonderful 12 years. Atletico will always be a part of me. Now I’m happy that I’m taking the next step at Bayern. “

Bayern director Hasan Salihamdzicadded: “I am very happy that in Lucas Hernandez we have been able to sign one of the best defensive players in the world and world champions.

“Lucas can be used both in central defense and on the left. In addition, Lucas will continue our tradition of outstanding French players and strengthen our team.”

Hernandez is sidelined with a knee injury picked up during the 3-1 defeat to Real Madridin La Liga, but Bayern are confident he will be fit for the beginning of the next campaign.

Lionel Messi Claims His Fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi is soccer’s Golden boy…

The 30-year-old soccer star received his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday after netting 37 times in La Liga play during the 2016-17 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi beat out Sporting CP‘s Bas Dost (34 goals in Portugal‘s Primeira Liga) and Borussia Dortmund‘s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 in the Bundesliga) in the top three to claim the prize, which is presented to Europe’s top goal scorer.

After also winning the award in 2012-13 (46 league goals), 2011-12 (50) and 2009-10 (34), Messi is tied with Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo for most regular winner of the Golden Shoe.

Messi’s 37 goals last season came in 34 Spanish top-flight appearances, but they were delivered as part of losing cause, as Real Madrid beat out Barca to the title.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted 12 goals in 12 games in the 2017-18 La Liga campaign.

He’s trailing Lazio‘s Ciro Immobile and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Edinson Cavani, who have netted 15 goals in Serie A and Ligue 1, respectively, in the race for this year’s Golden Shoe. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski, AS Monaco‘s Radamel Falcao and Inter Milan‘s Mauro Icardi have all netted 13 times.

Ronaldo, though, does not look like troubling the upper echelon of the European Golden Shoe rankings anytime soon, as he has netted just once in La Liga this season.

Messi will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday when top-of-the-table Barca travel to face second-place Valencia at the Mestalla.

Neymar Returns to FIFPro World 11 Team

Neymar is officially back on the list…

The 25-year-old Brazilian soccer star, a forward for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team, joins Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci as the new names in the 2017 FIFPro World 11, joining the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar

Neymar returns to the World 11 after a year’s absence, replacing his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Buffon was named to the team for the first time since 2007, ending a four-year reign by Bayern Munich‘s Manuel Neuer.

AC Milan’s Bonucci is the only new defender since last year’s awards, receiving the honor for the first time at age 30. He edged out Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, who FIFA said was the closest player left out.

Messi and Ronaldo were both named to the team for the eleventh straight time, sharing the record for the most appearances since the world players union’s award began in 2005.

Barcelona’s Messi received the most votes with 22,229 — only 14 more than Sergio Ramos, who made the team for a sixth straight edition and seventh overall.

Real Madrid had the most players on the list with five as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marcelo retained their spots along with Ramos and Ronaldo.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil, Juventus/Paris Saint-Germain), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy, Juventus/AC Milan), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)